JBS Prepared Foods - Principe Food Facility Named Food Engineering’s Plant of the Year

2024 Award Winner

Jacksonville, FL– JBS Prepared Foods - Principe in Columbia, Missouri, has been awarded the prestigious title of Food Plant of the Year by FOOD ENGINEERING Magazine. This recognition underscores the innovative strides made by JBS Prepared Foods - Principe in partnership with Stellar, a leading design-build firm, to create a production facility for premium Italian cured meats and charcuterie. JBS Prepared Foods - Principe was awarded the Plant of the Year recognition after a comprehensive evaluation based on the company's automation strategy, processing and packaging lines, and supply chain management plans.

The Principe facility is an impressive modern-day food production plant that spans over 315,000 square feet, sitting on 80 acres of land. This plant specializes in the production of salami, pepperoni, prosciutto, pancetta, and coppa products. This greenfield project signifies a perfect blend of tradition and technology. Principe has a legacy of 75 years of delivering quality sliced meats, earning its reputation as an industry leader. Noting the absence of a legitimate Italian meats facility in the United States, the owners sought to create a new tradition that would honor Principe’s Italian heritage, provide authentic quality meats to the United States, and integrate well into the Columbia, MO community.

The project, led by Stellar as the plant’s design-build partner, harnesses state-of-the-art automation and technology to enhance the production and efficiency of Italian meats. To maintain the brand's high quality and food safety standards, the plant conducts thorough inspections of raw materials and employs precise automated blending, stuffing, and forming processes. "We started this project strongly committed to delivering the best possible outcome. We focused on ensuring that the product flow throughout the plant, from manufacturing to packaging, was seamless. We utilized strategic equipment layout and cutting-edge technology, such as AGVs, gantry robots, and conveyors, to achieve this. Winning this project is a testament to the dedication and expertise of the combined teams," said Jim Oko, Vice President of Project Development at Stellar.

The plant will be showcased in the April cover story of FOOD ENGINEERING Magazine. Additionally, the award will be presented at the annual Food Automation & Manufacturing Symposium and Expo, scheduled from April 7-9 at the Hyatt Regency Coconut Point in Bonita Springs, FL.

"In a year that saw many impressive projects, being chosen as the winning project for Food Plant of the Year is a gratifying achievement. I am immensely proud of our team's resilience and ability to overcome challenges, especially considering the COVID-19 pandemic during construction. This award is a testament to our collective effort and showcases the incredible results that can be achieved through teamwork and perseverance. We are thrilled and grateful for this prestigious recognition, which only motivates us further to continue pushing the boundaries of innovation in our industry." Says Joe Machetta, Head of Operations for JBS USA Prepared Foods.

About Stellar:

Stellar is a fully integrated design, engineering, construction, refrigeration, and mechanical services firm serving commercial, industrial, and public sector markets across the United States. More than 750 Stellar employees throughout the country create award-winning food processing plants, refrigerated warehouses, distribution centers, commercial buildings, and military facilities. In addition to its Jacksonville, Florida, headquarters, Stellar operates support locations throughout the United States. For more information, visit